Holiday Baking Plans

Last year, I went all out with my cookie baking and candy-making but this year, I'm scaling things back just slightly. The two-toned twisty candy cane cookies just aren't happening this year! Here is last years platter of goodies: 

This year, I'll be tackling the chocolate covered Oreos (as seen above), M&M cookies and only one type of chocolate bark (skipping the almond one this year).

If you are interested in making the candy cane cookies, here is a great recipe from The Etiquette Factory Blog. It's described as a "basic sugar cookie with a little something extra" and they freeze well so technically you could make the dough in advance and then cook them right before Christmas. These were always a favorite growing up in my house but I don't think I have the energy to make them considering the M&M cookies almost killed my feet the other night. 

I don't think I need to include the M&M cookie recipe since it's pretty much the same one as the chocolate chip cookie recipe on the back of Nestle Tollhouse Morsels, except instead of adding chocolate chips, you bake the cookies for 8-9 minutes, take them out and add the M&Ms, then put them back in the oven for another 2-3 minutes. You shouldn't put the candies on until they are mostly done baking or they will melt and look terrible. 

Peppermint candy bark is another really easy but impressive thing to make for the holidays. It's simply 
  • one bag of chocolate chips
  • one bag of white chips
  • crushed up candy canes and 
  • peppermint extract (optional)

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or wax paper, pour the melted chocolate chips to make a thin layer covering the bottom and let it solidify. Then melt the white chocolate chips (adding the peppermint extract for extra flavor) and drizzle all over the top. Then sprinkle your crushed candy canes over the top so that they will harden into the white chocolate. You can also add the candy canes to the white chocolate first if you prefer and make a full second layer. Put the pan in the freezer for about 20 minutes, then remove and break into pieces.

A tip: put candy canes in a thick Ziploc bag and crush them with a meat tenderizer (smooth side). Don't try to put them in any appliances such as a blender, coffee grinder or food processor. 

Finally, making Chocolate Covered Oreos is easy but looks like you spent hours in the kitchen. Using these fun molds from Wilton (only $2):

along with candy making chocolate that you can find in any craft store, you can make these treats for a fraction of the cost of buying them in fancy chocolate shops. I use white chocolate for the designs, so I can color the trees green or the bulbs red and blue. Once the design is filled in (or not - as seen in the plain chocolate Santa above), you just add a thin layer of chocolate, add the cookie, pressing down slightly and then cover the bottom with more chocolate. I was going to skip these this year but my in-laws loved them and I couldn't disappoint!

What kinds of fun, holiday baking do you have planned?

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